The reform of China's basic education system should be deepened and accelerated to meet the demands of the country's modernization drive, Vice-Premier Li Lanqing said Monday.
Li told at a ational work conference on basic education held by the State Council in Beijing that basic education is the principal task in implementing the strategy of rejuvenating China through science and education.
It is also the fundamental approach to turn China's heavy population burden into a great advantage in human resources, Li pointed out.
He said the key to the implementation of compulsory education lies in the rural area as 800 million out of China's 1.26 billion people live in the countryside.
Li stressed that the management system of compulsory education in the rural area should be improved, and a perfect education investment mechanism be established to ensure the development of compulsory education in the rural area.
Governments at all levels should increase investments in education and guarantee that teachers at rural schools are paid in full amount on time, he said.
The state will gradually provide free textbooks for students in poverty-stricken areas. Farmers are encouraged to help repair and rebuild old and dangerous school buildings, Li noted.
The distribution of primary and middle schools in the rural area should be improved, and education resources should be re- deployed to make it more convenient for students to go to school, Li added.
The vice-premier called for a promotion of compulsory education in poverty-stricken and ethnic minority regions, saying that the role of science and education in poverty alleviation should be emphasized.
He suggested that areas where a 5-year primary school education is available to give local children a 6-year primary school education according to the country's 9-year compulsory educational system, which also includes another 3-year junior high school education.
Meanwhile, basic education, vocational education and adult education should be developed in a coordinated manner while efforts are made to combine agricultural production with science and education, in order to production economic growth and social progress in the countryside, Li said.
With regard to quality-oriented education, Li pointed out that the current curricula at the stage of basic education should be adjusted according to the characteristics of school children of various age groups, so as to stimulate students' desires to learn.
Meanwhile, he said, ethical education should be emphasized and the school, family and society should work together to guarantee the healthy growth of young people.
Most important of all, the vice-premier said, the traditional evaluation system based on examination scores, especially those of the entrance examination for universities, should be reformed.
He pointed out that the university entrance examination should at least be held twice a year to create more opportunities for students. In the meantime, efforts should be made to stop cheating in exams and enrollment.
A high-quality team of teachers should be built up so that teachers can win respect from the students and serve as their model, said the vice-premier, suggesting that a qualification system be established and those no longer qualified be dismissed.
(People's Daily 06/12/2001)